Update from Senator Bob Corker - August 4, 2014

Senator Bob Corker
2014-08-04 19:53:17
Bob Corker - U.S. Senator, Tennessee [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/1277156967_Twitter_48x48.png] [link 1] [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/FacebookIcon_thumb.png] [link 2] [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/YoutubeIcon_thumb.png] [link 3] *E-MAIL UPDATES* *Yes, please periodically send me e-mail updates.** Click Here [link 4] *By subscribing to my e-mail updates, you are authorizing me to send regular e-mail updates from my office to your e-mail account. Survey/Question [survey] Survey/Question [survey] *Update from Senator Bob Corker August 4, 2014* *Congress� Irresponsibility Burdening States, Cities and Future Generations* After his amendment to improve the highway bill was rejected by the House of Representatives last week, Senator Corker voted against final legislation to temporarily patch the Highway Trust Fund by transferring nearly $10 billion from the general fund. The $10 billion transfer is spent within a few months but paid for over 10 years using budget gimmicks. �It�s sad that the default mode in Congress is to pass one short-term patch after another, burdening our states, cities and future generations with the consequences of our irresponsibility,� said Corker. �The best thing we can do to promote economic growth and provide the certainty state and local officials are begging for is to stop stealing from future generations and pass a long-term highway program reform bill that is paid for in the same time frame in which the money is spent.� Earlier in the week, a bipartisan amendment coauthored by Corker passed the Senate by a vote of 66-31. The amendment, which drew broad support [link 5] from stakeholders and industry experts, removed a budget gimmick known as pension smoothing to pay for a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund and prevented Congress from shirking its responsibility to pass a long-term transportation bill this year. Since 2008, Congress has transferred more than $50 billion of general fund money into the Highway Trust Fund to maintain funding levels, and most of the spending has not been offset. *Veterans Deserve Solutions and a Congress with Discipline* Senator Corker released the following statement Thursday on the Veterans� Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. �Our veterans deserve solutions to the deep-rooted problems plaguing the VA, and they also deserve a Congress that has the discipline to pay for legislation it passes,� said Corker. �It�s embarrassing that Congress not only refuses to face today�s decisions with the courage our men and women in uniform have demonstrated for decades, but rushed through a piece of legislation without thoroughly reviewing its full fiscal impact on future generations and without knowing if it will address the systemic problems that exist at the VA. Congress should take time to work with the recently confirmed Secretary of the VA on cost-effective reforms that don�t put in place yet another long-term unfunded liability.� According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the $10 billion funding for a key provision of the bill would last only until the early part of fiscal year 2016 and require billions of dollars in additional funding each year if the program is not canceled. *Seeking Congressional Review of Final Iran Nuclear Deal* * [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/IRAN HEARING.png] [link 6] Click here [link 7] or on the image above to watch the video.* During questioning at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding Iran nuclear negotiations, Senator Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, exposed the administration�s willingness to sign a final agreement with Iran without seeking review and approval from Congress. In testimony before the committee, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman instead only committed to consulting with Congress on the negotiations, a departure from Secretary of State John Kerry�s testimony to the committee in April. �If you are asking�whether we are going to come to Congress for legislative action to affirm a comprehensive agreement, we believe as other administrations do that the executive branch has the authority to take such executive action on this kind of a political understanding that might be reached with Iran,� said Sherman, who further would not commit to ending negotiations on November 24, 2014, the end date for the four-month extended negotiating period. �I think the world understands that is a zero commitment, and it�s not in keeping with what Secretary Kerry said on April the 8th,� Corker said in response. �I know the goal posts keep moving, and I think you can continue this hearing as evidence of why so many of us have the concerns that we have.� Last month, Corker introduced legislation [link 8] requiring congressional review of any final agreement with Iran. The bill also would prevent further extensions of the negotiations, strictly enforce Iran�s compliance, and prevent implementation of a final agreement if a veto-proof majority of Congress disapproves of the deal. *Senate Passes Resolution on Congolese Adoption Delays* On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed S. Res. 502, a Senate resolution concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. �I�ve had the opportunity to hear firsthand the stories of many Tennessee families who are stuck in limbo trying to provide a better home and life for orphaned children living in the DRC, and I remain committed to broader efforts to improve the international adoption process so children can have the opportunity to grow up in permanent and safe families,� said Corker. �I�m pleased this resolution passed, and I hope the administration will use the upcoming U.S.-African Summit to press for a solution.� In September 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit permits for children adopted by foreign parents. Over 145 children who have been legally adopted by U.S. families and have been given Congolese passports and U.S. visas await exit letters, including several children with urgent, life-threatening medical problems. Advocacy groups indicate at least 23 families in the Volunteer State are affected by the DRC�s halt on adoptions. Corker has met with several Tennessee families in various stages of the adoption process and continues to work towards a solution that will bring the children home to the United States. Corker�s staff has also met with State Department officials, including the U.S. ambassador to the DRC and the DRC�s ambassador to the U.S., to discuss a resolution to this issue. Last month, Corker joined 167 members of Congress in asking [link 9] President Obama for his personal engagement on this issue, and in April, the senator wrote to [link 10] the president and prime minister of the DRC to request an end to delays in processing adoptions. As of today, there has been no response from the Congolese government. Text of the resolution is available here [link 11]. *Tennesseans Visit Washington* Senator Corker met with Tennesseans at last week�s �Tennessee Tuesday,� a regular breakfast held on Capitol Hill every week the Senate is in session for visitors from the Volunteer State. For more information, click here [link 12]. [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/729TNT.jpg] [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/729TNT2.jpg] [image = corker.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/729TNT3.jpg] *To keep up with Senator Corker's work in the Senate, follow him on Facebook [link 13], Twitter [link 14] and Instagram [link 15].*

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Update from Senator Bob Corker
August 4, 2014


Congress� Irresponsibility Burdening States, Cities and Future Generations

After his amendment to improve the highway bill was rejected by the House of Representatives last week, Senator Corker voted against final legislation to temporarily patch the Highway Trust Fund by transferring nearly $10 billion from the general fund. The $10 billion transfer is spent within a few months but paid for over 10 years using budget gimmicks.

�It�s sad that the default mode in Congress is to pass one short-term patch after another, burdening our states, cities and future generations with the consequences of our irresponsibility,� said Corker. �The best thing we can do to promote economic growth and provide the certainty state and local officials are begging for is to stop stealing from future generations and pass a long-term highway program reform bill that is paid for in the same time frame in which the money is spent.�

Earlier in the week, a bipartisan amendment coauthored by Corker passed the Senate by a vote of 66-31. The amendment, which drew from stakeholders and industry experts, removed a budget gimmick known as pension smoothing to pay for a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund and prevented Congress from shirking its responsibility to pass a long-term transportation bill this year.

Since 2008, Congress has transferred more than $50 billion of general fund money into the Highway Trust Fund to maintain funding levels, and most of the spending has not been offset.

Veterans Deserve Solutions and a Congress with Discipline

Senator Corker released the following statement Thursday on the Veterans� Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.

�Our veterans deserve solutions to the deep-rooted problems plaguing the VA, and they also deserve a Congress that has the discipline to pay for legislation it passes,� said Corker. �It�s embarrassing that Congress not only refuses to face today�s decisions with the courage our men and women in uniform have demonstrated for decades, but rushed through a piece of legislation without thoroughly reviewing its full fiscal impact on future generations and without knowing if it will address the systemic problems that exist at the VA. Congress should take time to work with the recently confirmed Secretary of the VA on cost-effective reforms that don�t put in place yet another long-term unfunded liability.�

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the $10 billion funding for a key provision of the bill would last only until the early part of fiscal year 2016 and require billions of dollars in additional funding each year if the program is not canceled.

Seeking Congressional Review of Final Iran Nuclear Deal


Click

During questioning at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding Iran nuclear negotiations, Senator Corker, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, exposed the administration�s willingness to sign a final agreement with Iran without seeking review and approval from Congress. In testimony before the committee, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman instead only committed to consulting with Congress on the negotiations, a departure from Secretary of State John Kerry�s testimony to the committee in April.

�If you are asking�whether we are going to come to Congress for legislative action to affirm a comprehensive agreement, we believe as other administrations do that the executive branch has the authority to take such executive action on this kind of a political understanding that might be reached with Iran,� said Sherman, who further would not commit to ending negotiations on November 24, 2014, the end date for the four-month extended negotiating period.

�I think the world understands that is a zero commitment, and it�s not in keeping with what Secretary Kerry said on April the 8th,� Corker said in response. �I know the goal posts keep moving, and I think you can continue this hearing as evidence of why so many of us have the concerns that we have.�

Last month, Corker
requiring congressional review of any final agreement with Iran. The bill also would prevent further extensions of the negotiations, strictly enforce Iran�s compliance, and prevent implementation of a final agreement if a veto-proof majority of Congress disapproves of the deal.

Senate Passes Resolution on Congolese Adoption Delays

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed S. Res. 502, a Senate resolution concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

�I�ve had the opportunity to hear firsthand the stories of many Tennessee families who are stuck in limbo trying to provide a better home and life for orphaned children living in the DRC, and I remain committed to broader efforts to improve the international adoption process so children can have the opportunity to grow up in permanent and safe families,� said Corker. �I�m pleased this resolution passed, and I hope the administration will use the upcoming U.S.-African Summit to press for a solution.�

In September 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit permits for children adopted by foreign parents. Over 145 children who have been legally adopted by U.S. families and have been given Congolese passports and U.S. visas await exit letters, including several children with urgent, life-threatening medical problems.

Advocacy groups indicate at least 23 families in the Volunteer State are affected by the DRC�s halt on adoptions. Corker has met with several Tennessee families in various stages of the adoption process and continues to work towards a solution that will bring the children home to the United States. Corker�s staff has also met with State Department officials, including the U.S. ambassador to the DRC and the DRC�s ambassador to the U.S., to discuss a resolution to this issue.

Last month, Corker joined 167 members of Congress in
the president and prime minister of the DRC to request an end to delays in processing adoptions. As of today, there has been no response from the Congolese government.

Text of the resolution is available
Tennesseans Visit Washington

Senator Corker met with Tennesseans at last week�s �Tennessee Tuesday,� a regular breakfast held on Capitol Hill every week the Senate is in session for visitors from the Volunteer State. For more information, click

To keep up with Senator Corker's work in the Senate, follow him on